York University is a place of diversity

“Margaret Wente [Globe & Mail columnist] makes the surprising claim that York University is ‘pretty chilly’, and that there is ‘institutional support’ for campus prejudice against Jews,” writes Nuri Jazairi, economics professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, in a letter to The Globe and Mail March 14. “Facts: The chancellor of York University is Jewish. The chair of the board of governors and some board members are Jewish. Many holders of the senior administrative positions, past and present, are Jewish. Jewish women were among the prime beneficiaries of the massive increase in affirmative action hiring of women faculty in recent years. Large numbers of the faculty in each discipline, department or division are Jewish, including many Israelis. There are programs and academic chairs in Jewish studies, and nearly daily Jewish events at York. By all objective criteria and ‘reasonable person’ tests, York University is a place of diversity at the level of the student body, and a home for Jews at all levels.”

Handing out goodies is not a budget

The provincial government’s unprecedented move to unveil its budget outside the legislature to an invited group of “average Ontarians” is coming under fire, reports the North York Mirror March 14. Robert Drummond, political science professor and dean of York’s Faculty of Arts, said the intentions of the government are clear. “The question is, why do it now if you’re going introduce to it in the house later unless it’s in order to prepare for an election?” He said the government handing out “goodies” is not a budget at all. “It isn’t the budget until it’s introduced in the legislature…. You can’t say it’s undemocratic because they’re trying to give it to the general population. On the other hand, it’s not the constitutional practice.”

Living in the shadow of an empire

“Those who want deep integration with the United States are today’s counterparts of the advocates of Imperial Federation a century ago,” argues James Laxer, political science professor in York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies, in an essay in the Toronto Star March 14. “They desire a union with the United States that would effectively extinguish Canadian sovereignty. They believe that when America is at war, Canada must also be at war.” A hundred years ago the debate was triggered by British demands for Canadian troops to fight in the Boer War. “Henri Bourassa, the founder and editor of Le Devoir in Montreal, wrote the rejoinder to the imperialists that ought to stand in our time. ‘What I should like is this; that between the old British frigate which threatens to founder on the rock of imperialism and the American corsair, making ready to pick up her wrecks, so cautiously and so steadily should we steer our bark that we shall neither be swallowed up in the abyss with the former, nor be carried away in the track of the latter.’”

Health charter not sexy enough for media

“Fear of boring readers (especially 18- to 35-year-olds who are lusted after by the media and Must Be Entertained) may be the reason you likely don’t already know about the Toronto Charter for a Healthy Canada,” writes Toronto Star columnist Judy Gerstel March 14. She was writing about a document that grew out of a conference at York University in December and was written in part by Dennis Raphael, health policy and management professor in York University’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies. “The truth is that stories about sex, food, movies, TV, sex, sports, money, sex, crime, celebrity and sex are much more likely to attract and titillate readers than stories about…health policy…. The charter was ratified this month by the Toronto Board of Health. But nothing about the Toronto Charter for a Healthy Canada was reported in any Toronto newspaper…. Little wonder that few of us realize that 75 per cent of our health is determined by the physical, social and economic environment. It’s a fact that being poor makes you sick. So does being poorly educated.”

Safety for the heart

The North York Mirror carried a photo March 12 of York University vice-president of finance and administration Gary Brewer receiving a cardiac-safe city street sign from Toronto Emergency Medical Services Cardiac Safe City coordinator Garrie Wright outside Vari Hall in recognition of York’s participation in the life-saving Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) program.

Singapore native’s dreams bloomed at York

Yvonne Ng arrived in Canada from Singapore more than 20 years ago, promising her parents she would study something practical but, after an impressive audition, ended up studying dance at York University, reports the Toronto Star in the second of six profiles on winners of the 2003 New Pioneers award recognizing achievements of new Canadians. “I could tell they liked what they saw during the audition, and that made me really nervous,” she recalls. “When I was told I was accepted, I almost died.” Ng graduated from York in 1983. Today, she is an accomplished contemporary dancer, artistic director, producer, choreographer and entrepreneur. Azim Lila, a York University undergraduate, was the first New Pioneer award-winner profiled in this series.

Law students support murderer’s appeal

Students at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School prepared a legal challenge to try to convince the Supreme Court to have another look at the case of former undercover cop Patrick Kelly, says The Vancouver Sun March 14 in a story about his pending application for parole. Others have also lobbied for Kelly, in jail for the past 19 years, who has insisted he didn’t push his wife from the balcony of their luxury 17th-floor Toronto condo.

Higher education pays off: census

No one has to convince Jeff Granell of the value of higher education, begins a story March 13 on the Web site for Metroland newspapers, YorkRegion.com, about 2001 census results that show university-educated graduates earn an average of $25,545 more than those with a high-school diploma. “Some of my friends got into the workforce right away,” said the second-year York University student. “They knew [university] wasn’t for them and they knew they didn’t want to spend all this time in school studying something they wouldn’t have a job with in five, six years.” But when the 19-year-old student isn’t busy running for York University’s student council or producing an upcoming charity fashion show, he’s working on his business degree by hitting the math and economics books. After graduation, he plans to attend law school and then become an international business consultant, a path not everyone in his high school class elected to follow.

On air

  • CBC radio stations across Canada broadcast March 13 an excerpt of a recent public lecture by former prime minister Kim Campbell at York University. Campbell, currently visiting professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, focused on foreign policy and on the legacy of past achievements in the current context of a possible war with Iraq.
  • In response to questions from the audience for CBC’s “The National” March 13 about a possible Iraq war, Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Craig Scott, an expert on international law, explained that the triggering condition for the self-defense provision to authorize war in the UN Charter is an armed attack on a state.
  • Ian Greene, political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, discussed in a phone interview on CBC’s “Ontario Today” March 12 Liberal leadership front runner Paul Martin’s announcement that his Canada Steamship Lines holdings will be turned over to his sons.
  • Cindy Hughes, chief therapist for the 2002 Winter Olympic Team and head athletic therapist at York University, talked about sports injuries, and John Vodarek, captain of the York University football team described his sports injury and treatment on “Medical Intelligence” (ROG-TV) in Toronto March 10.
  • Anne Bayefsky, political science professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts, currently on academic leave and teaching at Columbia Law School, talked in a phone interview on CBC’s “Metro Morning” March 11 about damaging consequences during and after a war on Iraq.
  • Paul Anisef, a sociology professor in York University’s Faculty of Arts and an expert on immigration and settlement, discussed 2001 census details just released that show immigrants, no matter how long they live in Canada, continue to earn lower wages than Canadian-born workers, with reporters on CBC radio programs across the country March 11.
  • Joe Green, Chair of Democrats Abroad and former dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, discussed with callers whether Canadians are anti-American, anti-Bush or neither, on “Goldhawk” (ROG-TV), Toronto, March 11.
  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, was interviewed on CBC’s “Metro Morning” March 10, about how several Toronto hospitals have signed up with Spencer, Francey, Peters branding agency to sharpen their images and competitive edges.